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Senate OKs bill penalizing the use of cellphones while driving

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 politicss_Senate OKs bill penalizing the use of cellphones while driving

The Senate approved on third and final reading today a Senate bill, which prohibits use of cellular phones and other mobile communications device while driving a motor vehicle.

Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, principal author of Senate Bill 3211, says there is a need to regulate usage of electronic devices among drivers, impose discipline among motorists, and proscribe distracted driving in order to promote road safety.

The chamber’s passage of the bill coincides with the observance of the Land Transportation Safety and Accident Prevention Month this May in accordance with Presidential Proclamation 115-A (1966).

The legislative proposal declares the following acts in a moving vehicle, whether diplomatic, public or private, as unlawful: 1) use of mobile communications device, including cellular phones, wireless telephones, two-way radio transceivers, pagers, among others, to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls; and 2) using an electronic entertainment or computing device, including laptop computers, tablets, video game consoles, among others, to play games, watch movies, surf the internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations and other similar acts.

Whoever violates these provisions shall be penalized with a fine of 5,000 pesos for the first offense, a fine of 10,000 pesos for the second offense, and a fine of 15,000 pesos and a three-month suspension of the driver’s license for the third offence.

SM MOA: Sy’s ‘greatest project’ marks 10th year

(The Philippine Star) | Updated May 28, 2016 - 12:00am


Architect’s perspective and aerial view of the expanded SM Mall of Asia. (Photo courtesy of SM Supermalls)

MANILA, Philippines - The Sy family’s 60-hectare SM Mall of Asia is expanding into one of the world’s largest mall on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

MOA will add about 250,000 square meters to its floor area, spanning a total of over 650,000 square meters, which will count as one of the largest in the world, a fitting milestone to a mall that has touched the lives of millions in the last 10 years, the SM Group said yesterday.

As part of its expansion, the company is embarking on a major redevelopment of the mall, which SM and SM Prime chairman Henry Sy once dubbed as the greatest project of his life.

There will be an Olympic-size skating rink which will be on the third floor is targeted to be ready by the end of the year.

A food hall, dolled up with designer furniture in tune with the mall’s modern look, will also open on the third level.

New brands are also set to come in including Swedish clothing giant H&M, which is slated to introduce a 3,000 square meter flagship store.
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Furthermore, as part of the redevelopment, the mall will also have a “warmer” look and feel, according to Steven Tan, aenior vice president for SM Supermalls.

He said the interior would adopt a different color scheme and introduce wooden panels.

The mall also recently unveiled a “solar carpark” which was visited recently by no less than environment advocate and former US Vice President Al Gore.

The 2.7 megawatt MOA solar carpark is in partnership with Solar Philippines and is nearly twice the size of the 1.5 MW SM North Edsa Solar Carpark.

To add to the developments, the SM Group will also put up Conrad Manila, SM Prime’s  deluxe hotel which is set to open in June this year with a new retail podium called S’Maison.

Another latest development, the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Museum is taking shape which will give visitors a unique experience in learning the history of the 250-year old global trade route where the Philippines and Mexico played major roles. The museum will highlight the galleon trade’s impact on today’s commerce, banking, travel, and cultural exchange.         — Iris Gonzales

Globe says homeowner groups blocking cell sites

Posted on May 26, 2016 08:53:00 PM []

TELECOMMUNICATION COMPANIES say their plans to build new cell sites in Metro Manila are being hampered by restrictions being imposed by some homeowner associations, as well as red tape and political squabbling, among others.

In a statement on Thursday, Globe Senior Vice-president for Program Governance, Network Technical Group Joel Agustin said Metro Manila is critical in the deployment of new cell sites, since many of its customers are in the area.

However, Mr. Agustin noted many home owners are against having new cell sites in their villages due to perceived health risks, even though these have been debunked by the World Health Organization and the Philippine Department of Health.

“Prior to installation of cell site equipment, the health department, as commissioned by the National Telecommunications Commission, also grants permits to make sure emissions from cell sites are within set standards and not harmful to health,” he said.

In a separate statement, Ramon Isberto, Head of PLDT and Smart Public Affairs said one of the challenges in rolling out network facilities such as cell sites involves securing permits from private parties such as homeowners associations, local government units and other national government agencies.

“Each of these come with different sets of demands and regulations. Aside from cell sites, we also need permits to roll-out facilities like fiber optic cables, which are vital because these carry the traffic generated by our subscribers. It would really help in expediting roll-out and maintenance of network infrastructure if the system of permits were to be simplified and standardized,” Mr. Isberto said.

To build a cell site, Globe said telcos have to get an average of 25 permits at the local government level, which takes at least 8 months.

Other issues raised by Globe include: “imposition of tower fees prior to processing of cell site permit application; required tower height exceeds allowable height imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, lack of proof of documentation to prove ownership; tax arrears; existing property has no permits which is a prerequisite for application of cell site permits; proposed location is a mortgaged property and the bank is not willing to issue bank consent.”

Also, telcos are usually caught in the middle of political squabbling between local government executives from opposing parties.

Mr. Agustin said telcos are expecting more delays in the issuance of permits after the recent elections, particularly in areas where the elected local official is not the incumbent.

“Aside from Metro Manila, other problematic areas include Cebu, Davao, North Luzon and South Luzon areas,” he said.

As part of efforts to improve internet service, Globe is expanding its network coverage and capacity in various areas across all technologies.

On the other hand, PLDT and Smart have set aside about P43 billion in capital expenditures this year, the bulk of which is budgeted to boost internet services in the country, including the recently announced initial deployment of LTE-Advanced.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. -- Tanya Mae B. Umali          

Public hearing on SM Prime’s Pasay reclamation set for June

Posted on May 23, 2016 08:52:00 PM []
THE ENVIRONMENTAL Management Bureau will hold a public consultation on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Manila Bay reclamation project.

  SM Mall of Asia on Manila Bay -- BW FILE PHOTO

“The public hearing is being conducted in connection with the review of the EIA report,” read the notice of the attached agency of the Environment and Natural Resources Department in reference to a 360-hectare reclamation project, which has the Pasay City Government as its proponent.

Individual or stakeholder groups may participate in the public hearing by registering with the EMB central office either in person or via e-mail

The public hearing is set on June 24 at the Cuneta Astrodome Conference room in Pasay City.

In 2013, Pasay City awarded to SM Prime Holdings, Inc. a contact under the private-public partnership to reclaim and develop around 300 hectares (ha) in parts of Manila Bay within Pasay’s jurisdiction for P54.5 billion

The city will contribute to the joint venture its authority, rights and privileges to undertake the reclamation process.

The Pasay City government will not incur any expenses on the reclamation and development of the land but will be given 51% of the area to be reclaimed.

The reclamation project is part of a bigger reclamation deal which also involves 300 hectares in Manila Bay awarded by the ParaƱaque City government. -- Janina C. Lim     

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